With tax day upon us, three in four Americans expect they will file their income taxes on time this year, and most who file expect a refund from the federal government. Still, nearly half of Americans feel they pay more than their fair share in taxes. Those who expect to owe money this year are particularly likely to feel they pay too much — 60% hold this opinion.
But politics plays an even larger role in how people feel about the amount of money they pay in taxes. Democrats and liberal Americans mostly feel the amount of money they pay in taxes is about right, while Republicans and conservatives tend to feel they pay more than their fair share. Independents and moderates are more divided.
This year, while a quarter of Americans expect to owe more money in taxes this year, most — 6 in 10 — expect to get money back from the government.
But hardly any of those expecting a refund plan to spend it on something special or fun, and fewer than a third will be using it to either boost their savings or to pursue investment opportunities. Instead, more than half will be using their refund to make ends meet: 37% will be using it to pay down debt or pay off bills, and another 18% will use it to pay for everyday items like food or clothing.
Income plays a factor in how people will be using their tax refund. Those at the lower end of the income scale are the least likely to be able to save or invest it — just a quarter of those earning under $50,000 a year will be doing so. Americans earning between $50,000 and $100,000 a year are more likely to be able to save or invest their refunds, but even more — 4 in 10 — will be using it to pay bills or debts. Americans earning over $100,000 a year are most likely to be able to save or invest their refund, and just over a quarter from this group will have to use their refund to pay bills or debts. Hardly any Americans regardless of income will be spending that refund on something special or fun.
This CBS News/YouGov survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 1,612 U.S. adult residents interviewed between March 29-31, 2022. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey and Current Population Survey, as well as to 2020 presidential vote. The margin of error is ± 3.1 points.
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